Abstract

Various questionnaires are used to assess the impact of tinnitus on the quality of life. The Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI) has excellent properties for scaling the severity of tinnitus and treatment-related changes in both clinical and research settings. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Italian version of the TFI with particular emphasis on factor analysis, internal consistency, reliability and validity. The original English version of the TFI was translated into Italian using the translation/back - translation process; 137 participants who were recruited at the Tinnitus Clinic in Milan and had suffered from tinnitus for at least three months (39.4% females, age: 18-80 years, mean age: 48.26, SD: 14.08) completed the Italian version of the TFI, the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), the Beck Depression Inventory - Primary Care Version (BDI-PC) and the Numeric Rating Scale of annoyance (NRS-A). Of these patients, 57 completed the TFI again at a second visit 7-14 days later, before undergoing any intervention, in order to provide data for reproducibility assessment. The psychometric properties were investigated using exploratory factor analysis and internal consistency and test-retest reliability instruments. The convergent validity of the TFI was evaluated using correlation coefficients obtained from the remaining measurements. The Italian TFI has a four-factor structure that was somewhat different from the original. The internal consistency proved to be good (0.92 ≤ α ≤ 0.96) as did the test-retest reliability (0.79 ≤ α ≤ 0.85). In terms of convergent validity, the TFI showed high correlations with the THI (r = 0.77) and the NRS-A (r = 0.70) scores, and moderate correlations with the BDI-PC scores (r = 0.46). The difficulties encountered when attempting to reproduce the original eight-factor structure were consistent with other studies in which the TFI was translated into European languages. In spite of this, the factorial structure of the Italian version of the TFI was characterised by high levels of reliability and validity. Overall, the Italian adaptation of the TFI was shown to be suitable to measure the impact of tinnitus on the daily lives of individuals.